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Back to School

Help for parents in need of a hand

Kerry Libby packages meals at Healthy Habits Kitchen in Wellesley. Customers can choose their menus, and pick up their meals, or have them delivered, to finish cooking them at home. Kerry Libby packages meals at Healthy Habits Kitchen in Wellesley. Customers can choose their menus, and pick up their meals, or have them delivered, to finish cooking them at home. (Photos By Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)
By Kathleen Burge
Globe Staff / August 29, 2010

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The start of classes means households containing school-age children leave behind sleepy summer days and launch into the hectic season. Lunches need to be packed, permission slips signed, backpacks and school supplies and new wardrobes bought. For those parents inclined to ask for help, there are a range of services available.

■ As students return to school in the fall, so, too, do head lice. The Nit-Picker, Helen Hadley’s Needham business, makes house calls to remove the tiny bugs by hand; it’s the only method, she says, that effectively gets rid of them.

Fall is her busy time, as children return to school and lice spread through classrooms. “It’s not a seasonal insect,’’ she said. “It’s just very intense this time of year, because it’s going undetected in the summer.’’ Hadley’s business, which includes three nit-pickers she has trained, charges $100 an hour, plus a traveling fee. It typically takes two hours to remove all the bugs from a child’s hair, but can take longer, she said. Based on her experiences with 5,000 customers, Hadley says shampoos and other chemical methods are often ineffective.

The Nit-Picker, www.thenit-picker.com, 781-449-2283

Tammy Graham is a licensed child and family therapist who runs groups for girls in fifth through eighth grades who may be struggling with their changing bodies and issues with friends.

“It’s really geared toward what the girls are going through at middle school ages: friendship issues, girl drama, self-esteem issues,’’ Graham said. “It’s just a place for them to talk about any issues they have in an informal and supportive environment.’’

The girls meet weekly in a small group, usually on Monday nights, with Graham in her Leonard Street office in Belmont, usually for six or eight sessions.

Tammy Graham, Belmont, 781-258-8975.

■ Getting dinner on the table — especially a healthy meal — is a perennial struggle for parents.

Healthy Habits Kitchen offers to be their sous-chef, planning and chopping and doing all the hard work. Once the meals are picked up in Wellesley — or delivered to your house — all you have to do is add heat. The company’s meals come in two sizes: servings for two to three people cost $15 to $20; servings for four to six cost $25 to $30. (Sides and desserts are extra.)

The September menu includes black bean veggie burgers, bourbon-glazed salmon, and pretzel-crusted chicken.

Healthy Habits Kitchen, 36 Washington St., Suite 2, Wellesley, 781-235-6325, www.healthyhabitskitchen.com.

At LINX, a Wellesley-based company that offers a range of enrichment programs, staffers will not only plan and host your child’s birthday party, they will also help you create invitations, manage the guest list — letting families RSVP to them — and take pictures at the party.

Parents and children choose the theme, from American Girls to pirates to “Star Wars.’’ The company’s party planners will lead the activities, create goody bags for partygoers, and provide the birthday child the dreaded thank-you notes for later. Packages start at $345.

LINX, 141 Linden St., Wellesley, 781-235-3210, www.linx-usa.com.

The Mathnasium in Newton exists for both students who love math and those who dread it.

Director Myrtha Chang, an MIT grad who worked in computer consulting for two decades, says students who aren’t being challenged in school as well as those struggling with the subject, including ones with dyscalculia, a math learning disability, can benefit from extra help. Tutoring starts at $41 per session.

Mathnasium, 49 Winchester St., Newton, 617-340-3665, www.newtonmathtutors.com.

Kathleen Burge can be reached at kburge@globe.com